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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by petrol engines and utilizing the 4-door sedan body style within the same 'Executive car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (rear for the Mercedes Benz and 4 x 4 in the case of the Volkswagen). The first one has a Mercedes Benz-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 12-cylinder, 36-valves 517hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 12-cylinder, 48-valves 420hp engine designed by Volkswagen.Safety
Unfortunatelly, neither of the two vehicles was submitted to the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) testing. This makes it virtually impossible for me to pick one over the other and I'm generally against buying such cars as the safety should really always come first. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the executive car segment, which is generally a fortune safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. On the other hand, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, Phaeton offers a marginal difference of 9% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that Volkswagen does have a slight advantage, when all the models are taken into account. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of Mercedes Benz with an average rating of 4.4, and models under the Volkswagen badge with 4.2 out of 5. Independent research findings rank S as average reliability-wise, and Phaeton is more or less at the same level.Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as Mercedes Benz S rank it on average as 3.0, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 2.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Mercedes Benz is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 1.5 seconds less than its competitor. Still, it lacks the power to win the top speed competition, topping at 250 kilometers per hour, exactly the same as the other car does. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be Mercedes Benz S, averaging around 14.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (20 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 9% difference compared to Phaeton.
Volkswagen appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, Phaeton offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. From there things take a different direction, with Mercedes Benz being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but Mercedes Benz. In any case that's my personal view, built upon all the data available to me. What should decide here though is the way you feel about the two vehicles, and I hope you'll find my guidelines useful in the process. I suggest you spend two more minutes in order to find out which car, based on your needs and budget, would be picked by the virtual adviser™, out of 12.000+ vehicles we currently have in our database.